This episode's different. I bring on Wright Thompson, a dear friend and great writer. For eight years, I edited Wright's pieces at ESPN the Magazine and we discuss what might be my favorite story of his: His profile of Claudia Williams, Ted Williams' daughter. It's a piece about inter-generational pain and was the most challenging story Wright's ever written. I still think of it as the magazine version of One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Wright is—and not only according to me—the best sportswriter working today. His non-fiction story collection, The Cost of These Dreams, was a New York Times best-seller. His work appears basically every year in the Best American Sportswriting anthology. He is the executive producer of two television shows, True South and Backstory, both of which air on ESPN. He's also a good dude who makes me laugh every time I talk with him, this episode being no exception.
If you want a fairly representative look at what our writer-editor relationship was like, give the episode a listen.
I thought Wright only wanted to do this story because he wanted to slay Richard Ben Cramer, who'd written in the 1980s what everyone considered the greatest piece on Ted Williams. I think Wright's is even better.
In the episode Wright and I discuss Ben Bradlee Jr's biography of Ted, as well as Ted's autobiography. I worked in Boston while Bradlee Jr. lived there and, as was the case for Wright, heard how writing on Ted was one of the hardest thing's Bradlee Jr. had ever done—and he'd overseen the Boston Globe's investigation into the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal.